Thursday, August 25, 2005

Exceptions

Driving back from Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker (on a car bearing another sticker, which identified its owner as a "tree-hugging dirt-worshipper") that exclaimed "God bless the whole world--No exceptions."

No exceptions? That sounds awfully benevolent, and I understand not wanting to limit the God-given good fortune to just one country, as in "God bless America," but no exceptions at all? That's just senseless.

Consider the meaning of "bless" in such an expression as "God bless America." From the various definitions Merriam-Webster offers, the most literally applicable might seem to be "to invoke divine care for." But, of course, that works in an example such as they give--"Bless your heart"--but not so much if it's actually God himself who is doing the blessing. Then the better definition for this context is "to confer prosperity or happiness upon."

There are persons whose prosperity and happiness is mutually exclusive with the prosperity and happiness of many other persons, if those terms are understood to entail success in reaching existing goals.

It seems pretty much an Either/Or proposition to me in many cases. Consider just a few:

  • Either Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq or anyone and everyone in Iraq who's an American, Christian, Kurd, fan of democracy, Shi'ite, or even Sunni with insufficient zeal for jihad against anyone or anything Al Qaeda says threatens the purity of Islam. (Detailed explanation and extensive sourcing feasible upon request if this dichotomy seems unlikely; in the meantime consider this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.)
  • Howard Dean or the GOP
No exceptions. Right. People and their bumper stickers.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Laura said...

HAHAHA Pirates or ninjas...you're awesome. Pirates own ninjas, in case you were wondering, and pirates don't need blessings to be badass. ~Laura

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Or Michael Bolton. Or Kenny G.

6:19 AM  

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